The Abolitionists Movie and the Fight to End Child Sex Trafficking

This post was most recently updated on May 6th, 2020

I attended the premiere of The Abolitionists, it’s the human trafficking movie (documentary) that follows the real life rescue missions around the world. The premiere was at the Build Your Blog Conference in Salt Lake City this month.

The Abolitionists is an intense documentary that shows sting operations of a group of men, including Utah resident Tim Ballard. He’s a former CIA Special Agent who worked on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.


The film opens with Ballard and it’s the first time you see his piercing blue eyes. He is involved in dangerous and horrible circumstances and yet somehow remains empathy and humanness. You can feel his compassion, even though he must deal with monsters who sell and abuse children. He is both tough and compassionate.

You watch how Ballard and his team travel the world, working with governments to bait and catch child sex traffickers. They pretend to want to purchase young girls for a party and then set up a sting to get the bad guys. They rescue girls as young as 12.

I appreciated that the film showed the seriousness of the problem but didn’t get into the details or show graphic images. I was afraid of being depressed or left in tears, but the movie gave me hope. I was relieved that it wasn’t traumatizing as I’m sure it is in real life.

Mark your calendar for May 16th for a movie release of “The Abo­li­tion­ists”. You can request a showing in your city (hint, hint Ogden’s Peery’s Egyptian Theater). Proceeds will help fund the group to do more rescues.

A turning point in the film is when the crew returns to where they took out traffickers and tried to “buy” young girls once again. The guy they asked explained how that was too risky (thanks to the sting). That was a true victory! The arrests served as a deterrent. That is a triumph!

The thing I kept thinking is we can save children by working on the demand side, so people don’t want to pay for sex with children. That involves fighting child porn and porn in general which is damaging and fuels this evil industry. Homeless youth, especially LGBT youth, are at risk of being trafficked.

Utah has a problem with child sex trafficking too, see this story from The Deseret News.

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, between December 2007 and September 2013, the center received 275 calls that originated in Utah claiming human trafficking. Sixty-one of those calls were in 2013 alone.

The Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force estimates that millions of men, women and children are trafficked around the world each year, and that human trafficking is a $32 billion dollar industry.

We learned that the film didn’t get accepted to film festivals because of it’s open portrayal of faith. There are prayers and the story of a man (code name Batman) who turned his life around after finding God. He now uses his experiences to help catch these guys. The filmmakers refused to remove faith from this film and that meant it was rejected (sad).

I recommend seeing this film. I’m an advocate of positive movies and appreciate their power to move, entertain, and teach us. This movie will open your eyes to the seriousness of child sex slavery and hopefully we can fight it on several fronts – from fighting porn, to the laws we pass, and how we address homelessness, especially our youth. If I were God I would be so angry seeing the exploitation of innocent children that happens. It’s shocking that children are sold and bought for their bodies. Let’s take a stand and get people out to see this movie. Please support The Abolitionists movie!

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